Our brains are very wired for patterns. The first time you
ever drove to work, you may have used map quest; you likely watched each street sign closely as you navigated your way to a new place. However, if you have been working there for some time now, you likely no longer need directions. You are able to make the drive with little extra thought. You may even at times make the trip without being fully engaged and cognizant of the drive. That’s because the voyage from home to office has become a well-engrained thought pattern.
It’s the same with all kinds of thought patterns. Notice today the thought patterns that may dictate your actions, your decisions, your feelings. Notice the thought patterns you may have learned as a child, they may have even been helpful at the time.
I cannot ask for help.
I am only loveable when needed.
I must be the best at everything.
I must not show my emotions, they’re embarrassing.
As you begin to notice these patterns, ask yourself these questions: Is this thought pattern serving me? What is the price for believing it? How would I like to replace, challenge, or change it?
Using the examples above:
I am worthy of asking for help. Other people enjoy helping me.
I am loveable just as I am. I want to seek relationships with people who help me to feel accepted.
I want to work hard at the things that are valuable. Valuing the things that are important to me is far more attainable than striving for perfection.
Emotions carry with them important messages. I will seek relationships where I feel safe to share them.
Again, we are working towards patterns. The first time you challenge an engrained pattern may feel similar to driving on an unknown highway. Over time, however, it becomes a pattern – it becomes second nature. With practice, bravery, self-compassion, and repetition, you can begin to create patterns that serve you and your values. Notice people, places, actions that help you feel more connected to the new patterns – and run towards them! They are of great value.